Thursday, March 15, 2012

Digital Assets -- Don't Overlook Them When Planning

Wills, powers of attorneys, trusts -- they all exist in a paper form.  Yet, our world is moving in leaps and bounds into the digital arena.  Over this past weekend my husband and I were talking about not purchasing any media in hard form.  Instead, we'll buy movies, music, possibly even books, in digital format.  No more worries about scratched CDs or where to store all that "stuff".  Most households are following this trend, and it raises a challenge for estate planning.  Keeping track of your digital assets.

Image credit: - free image

The simple approach I tell my clients is to create an inventory of where you hold assets.  Don't worry about the value or even the passwords.  If something happens AND you have powers of attorney or a will in place, your loved ones will be able to access the assets.  The KEY is knowing where to go.  It will save countless hours and resources.

Here is a list of some of the places you may have digital assets:

  • Email accounts;
  • Web sites, blogs, domain names;
  • Photos, videos, and other documents;
  • Social networking accounts
  • Auto-debit / deposit accounts with banks or retirement accounts.
One of the easiest things you can do I write down which bills are set up for auto pay.  Rarely is a bill sent in the mail these days.  If it goes to your email account, and you are in the ICU, it may go unnoticed for a long time.

Estate planning issues are never fun to face.  But take charge, take a few moments, and you'll be giving your loved ones a true gift should the unthinkable happen.

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